Sustainable sourcing criteria
Mix of plant-based and protein-forward meals
Great variety of cuisines and flavors
No meal modifications
No add-ons or larger portion sizes
Green Chef is a certified organic meal service designed for eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle but with the convenience of meal delivery kits. Green Chef offers three different menus: Balanced Living, Keto + Paleo, and Plant-Powered. Balanced Living offers a mix of dishes such as vegetarian and vegan, along with those that include animal protein. Balanced Living is balanced between the ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The Keto + Paleo plan features lower-carbohydrate, higher-protein meals and certified gluten-free ingredients, while the Plant-Powered meals featured vegetarian and vegan options.
All ingredients in Green Chef kits are free of GMOs, pesticides, and antibiotics. Kits contain a mix of pre-measured ingredients that require some minimal prep along with pre-made sauces, marinated, and spice blends. Recipes come with easy step-by-step instructions, tips, and photos and are generally ready in about 30 minutes. We tested several meals from this meal delivery service to give you an idea of what to expect when choosing it.
How It Works: Choose Your Plan, Pick Your Meals
Signing up for Green Chef is an easy process. The most important part is to read about each meal plan—Balanced Living, Keto + Paleo, and Plant Powered—to determine which is right for you, since meals from the different plans cannot be mixed and matched. Note that the first option in the list is the Keto + Paleo plan so if you do not want that, make sure you make a different selection. (We mistakenly signed up under the Keto + Paleo plan for our first order.)
Once you select your meal type, you are prompted to select a number of meals (three or four per week) and either two, four, or six servings per meal. At this point, you will be able to see pricing per meal and shipping is a flat fee of $8.99 for every box. You will be asked to choose a delivery day of the week between Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and then, depending on the day you select, you can opt for delivery between two dates over the subsequent two to three weeks. Once you submit payment, you can choose your meals from your selected menu.
You can view each item in detail, including a photo, ingredient list, nutrition panel, and allergen information. Certain meals are also labeled if they are keto, paleo, or gluten-free, but note that Green Chef is not a certified gluten-free operation. There are no options for customization per meal but once your order is placed, you can swap out different meals as long as it is before the cutoff for order changes.
Choosing Meals: Straightforward, No Customization
Choosing Green Chef meals is very straightforward. Menu choices that show up as options for ordering will be limited to the plan that was selected upon signing up. There are nine to 12 choices per week; the meals can be prepared as lunch or dinner, but this service is designed and marketed primarily for dinners. Customers are limited to choosing between three and four recipes per week, fewer than many other meal subscriptions services. The number of servings per meal can be adjusted and increased to six for larger families or those who want leftovers. Modifications can be easily made online, but they must be made prior to 11:59 p.m. ET at least seven days before your delivery date. Any change requests within that seven-day window must be discussed with customer service to see if alterations are possible.
What We Made
At first, we mistakenly ordered from the Keto + Paleo plan but were still pleasantly surprised with the meals. Our second order was from the Balanced Living plan; we ordered four recipes, two servings in each. We ordered the highest- and lowest-calorie menu options for each plan. We were also able to order both a vegetarian and a vegan dish from the Balanced Living plan, since that includes meals for both omnivores and plant-based eaters. All recipes came together as outlined on the recipe cards and were very flavorful.
A list of what we prepared:
- Bistro mushroom chicken with sauteed kale, Swiss cheese, creamy pan sauce, and toasted almonds
- Italian beef stuffed peppers with sauteed green beans and almonds
- Pork with lemon-basil caper sauce with sauteed cauliflower, bell pepper, feta cheese, and almonds
- Pan-roasted cotija chicken with smoky pan sauce, sauteed cabbage, and cumin seeds
- Thai veggie peanut curry with coconut-lime rice bell pepper, edamame, kale, and snap peas
- Boom boom shrimp bowls with green leaf lettuce, stir-fried cabbage, and red bell pepper
- Sun-dried tomato flatbreads with balsamic reduction, basil pesto, and kale salad
- Cheesy baked penne with sausage with mozzarella, parmesan, and mushrooms
Support Materials: Recipe Cards and Exclusive Coupons
Each box includes detailed recipe cards, printed front and back. The cards have a brief description of the dish, cook time, calories, allergens, a list of ingredients in the meal kit, any additional ingredients or equipment needed for the recipe, and detailed, step-by-step prep, cooking, and assembly instructions with photos. Each box also includes a packet of coupons and ads from other brands, sometimes food-related but sometimes not (e.g., a flyer for Geico insurance). These were included in each box, so we felt they became redundant and most of ours ended up in the recycling bin. There was also a coupon card for one free week of meals from Green Chef to pass on to a friend.
Along with paper promotional materials, in one box we actually received a complimentary carton of plant-based pea milk from a new brand, which was a nice surprise and was actually very tasty.
The meal kits all arrived cold and fresh in a cardboard insulated box with recyclable ice packs on top of the fresh proteins. Each meal is packaged in brown paper bags and ingredients within those bags are either packed in plastic bags or hard, rigid plastic. There is detailed information on the website about each type of packaging that may be included in your box and the best way to dispose of it, but customers can be assured that all packaging is made from recyclable, reusable, and/or compostable materials (even the sauce packets) unless this is not possible for food safety reasons.
The cardboard box, insulation, and hard plastics can be recycled curbside and plastic bags will depend on local recycling regulations. The only hiccup we had was that there were instructions included on the plastic packaging to remove the stickers before recycling, but we were unable to do so without spending a lot of time soaking the bags and scrubbing off the stickers.
The Cooking Process: Clear and Easy to Follow
We prepared a variety of meals, including ones that were entirely plant-based as well as meals with red meat, poultry, or seafood, and all were very easy to follow. The instructions on each meal card were very straightforward with helpful visuals and cooking tips. We did not have any issues or questions for any of the recipes and everything came out as expected in the estimated amount of time, typically around 30 minutes total.
Some basic kitchen equipment was necessary to have on hand, such as a pot for cooking pasta, saute pans for vegetables and proteins, a baking sheet, a few mixing bowls, a cutting board, and a basic chef's knife for cutting some of the produce. Some recipes call for more specialized kitchen tools like a microplane grater. If you don't have a specific tool, Green Chef suggests alternatives to use.
Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Superior Ingredient Sourcing
Green Chef prides itself on its sustainable sourcing—all ingredients are certified organic unless indicated otherwise. Proteins are all sustainably sourced and of very high quality. The only issue we had was with two bell pepper halves that started to get a little slimy after a few days in the refrigerator (the meals are intended to have a shelf life of five days).
The recipes at Green Chef included a wide variety of flavors and styles, including some more modern composed meals along with more rustic comfort foods. It was also notable for its range of cuisines from Thai to Mexican to Jamaican to Mediterranean and many others from around the world.
The meals were all well seasoned since a lot of the recipes include flavorful spice blends, but none were overly salty. They truly tasted like restaurant-quality, chef-inspired meals with innovative, internationally-inspired flavor combinations. We found that even the pre-made sauces tasted very fresh, evidently made from scratch without excess additives or preservatives that are often found in other pre-made items. All of the meals we prepared and tasted were made with real whole foods that could be easily replicated again by purchasing the same ingredients in a local grocery store—making this service great not only for its actual meal kits but also as a form of inspiration for future healthy meals.
The recipes at Green Chef included a wide variety of flavors and styles, including some more modern composed meals along with more rustic comfort foods.
Nutritional Value: Well-Balanced (and Not Lowfat)
Between its three meal plans, Green Chef offers a variety of options for omnivores and vegetarians. The Balanced Living plan has a mix of everything, the Keto + Paleo plan is designed for lower carb and gluten-free lifestyles, and the Plant-Powered option is strictly for vegetarian and vegan options. While recipe cards clearly indicate allergens and gluten-free ingredients are certified gluten-free, the facility is not allergen-free so there is always the potential for cross-contamination.
Complete nutrition information is available online for each recipe. Of the meals we tried, calories ranged from 500 to 900 with most closer to 700 or 800. Occasionally, there will be one meal with more than 1,000 calories. The Keto recipe cards will also include net carbs, which calculates the total carbohydrates minus the dietary fiber and is a value important to those following a keto diet. The total amount of fat is generally on the higher side (i.e., over 50g per serving), with most of it unsaturated. Dietary fiber is generally high due to the variety of beans, produce, and grains used in the recipes. Sodium varies considerably between meals; some meals contain over 1,000mg per serving while others were closer to 700mg. Those wanting to be more mindful about sodium can always omit the added salt recommended in the recipe.
Lastly, we found the serving sizes to be quite generous and occasionally ended up getting three servings from a meal designed for two, meaning the nutrition information per serving may also be overestimated.
Green Chef Is Good For
Green Chef is great for anyone who wants a meal service to fit into an already healthy lifestyle or those who want to kickstart one with some recipe guidance and inspiration that doesn’t sacrifice flavor. While “healthy food” may be defined differently, Green Chef is for you if you value premium organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, plant-forward, high-fiber foods, and good fats. This is also a great service for those following plant-based or keto/paleo diets.
Green Chef Is Not Good For
Green Chef is not good for picky eaters or those who prefer simply prepared ingredients without herbs and spices. Green Chef meals are also not designed for those following low-fat diets or anyone needing a variety of dietary modifications, since customizations are not an option.
There were no add-ons available at the time our orders were placed.
Green Chef is for you if you value premium organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, plant-forward, high-fiber foods, and good fats.
Customer Service: Professional and Efficient
Customer support is available by an informative FAQ section online, a live person chat, and phone. We called customer service to get clarity on the window for modifications and also called to complain about the bell peppers that had gone bad, and both times customer service agents were easy to reach and very helpful. Without even asking, we were immediately offered a refund for the two meals that contained the bell peppers.
Making Changes and Canceling: Must Do in Advance
Making modifications to meal choices is easy to do online but must be done one week prior to the delivery date. The deadline is included in the confirmation email after placing your first order. Canceling or skipping weeks can easily be done online or by calling before that deadline.
Customer service did inform us that if changes after the deadline cannot be made online, it is always worth calling customer support to see if anything else can be done by phone.
The Competition: Green Chef vs. Sunbasket
Green Chef and Sunbasket are both considered to be good meal delivery services for those looking for organic, healthy ingredients. While Green Chef is a certified organic company, Sunbasket features a variety of organic ingredients, particularly organic produce. They both offer paleo and vegetarian meal plans, but Sunbasket offers 10 different meal plans covering a variety of special diets. Recipes can also be mixed and matched between meal plans. With Green Chef, you can only order from your specific meal plan.
Sunbasket also offers a value-priced Family Menu designed for leftovers. Sunbasket provides more variety for different meal occasions, including add-ons for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Both companies prioritize transparent sourcing, sustainability, and nutritious food, and they feature recipes from a variety of international cuisines. For those who want a high-quality meal service for dinners a few times a week to supplement their own cooking or other meals out, Green Chef is a great choice. For those looking for a meal delivery service on a regular basis with larger families and for more meal occasions or different dietary restrictions, Sunbasket has more options.
Green Chef is an excellent meal delivery service for those who want to make thoughtful food choices for sustainable, healthy living and for those who appreciate chef-inspired, restaurant-quality meals from cuisines around the world. This is a great choice for those who enjoy a mix of plant-based foods and sustainably sourced animal protein seasoned with fresh herbs and spices that add robust flavor.
We spent numerous hours looking through 48 meal delivery services’ websites, ordered meals and cooked them at home, photographed the process, spoke with customer service representatives from the companies, filled out detailed surveys about each company and their meals, and wrote in-depth reviews and comparison articles. Our expert panel includes dieticians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.
The criteria we used to evaluate each company included:
- The ordering process
- Meal selection
- Packaging and support materials
- The cooking process
- The flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient
- Nutritional information
- Customer service
- Product Name Green Chef
- Lowest Price per Serving $10.49
- Number of Diets Served 3
- Number of Recipes 31
- Delivery Area 48 states
- Serving Sizes Available 2, 4, 6